31 Jul Living in Italy: Visa options for non-Italians
Can non-Europeans stay and live in Italy beyond 90 days?
Whilst millions of people would love to linger longer in Italy, perhaps to enjoy the best of art and culture to discover anywhere, to escape from a frenzied pace of life, or even wind down a little, then unless you’re married to an Italian, or descended from one, you’re going to require a non-tourist visa.
For visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period, all non-EU citizens can generally travel to Italy for tourism, business trips, or other short-term purposes. However, you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your stay and 6 months thereafter.
Here are a few possibilities to obtain a visa for longer than 90 days as a tourist:
- Family Reunification: As the spouse of an EU citizen, you may have the right to join your spouse in Italy under the provisions of family reunification. This right is typically granted under EU law and allows family members, including spouses, to join their EU citizen family member in an EU country like Italy.
The exact requirements and procedures for family reunification can vary by region and locality within Italy, so it’s recommended to consult with the Italian Embassy or Consulate in the UK or an immigration consultant or lawyer, to understand the specific process and documentation required.
- Employee Work Permit: If you have a job offer or plan to work in Italy, you will need a work permit. Your employer may assist you in obtaining the necessary documentation, and this is the best way to obtain one. Otherwise you will have to meet stringent criteria for a highly qualified position. You may also apply (as self employed persons also do, via the quota system (decreto flusso) as an employee or self-employed professional. A limited number of places are allocated annually in Italy and different work categories are also capped based upon Italy’s perceived worker needs in specific areas, so this can be very challenging.
- Study Permit: If you plan to study in Italy, you will need a study permit. This usually involves enrolling in an Italian educational institution and fulfilling the requirements set by the institution and immigration authorities (usually minimum 20 hours per week study program). It’s possible to convert a study permit to a work permit after your course is completed, subject to Italy’s quotas for such a transition.
- Self-Employment Permit: If you intend to start a business or work as a freelancer in Italy, (and your spouse is not Italian or an EU citizen with Italian residency), currently you need to apply for a self-employment permit via the quota system described above. Italy allocates an average of perhaps 500 self employment visas each year and the requirements to obtain one of those are not so straightforward. There is news about Italy developing a digital nomad visa but no particulars have been developed or announced yet.
Start-up Visa: A streamlined, procedure has been in place since June 2014 for foreign entrepreneurs interested in establishing innovative business companies in Italy, however there are no guarantees of acceptance.
- Elective Residency Visa: This is probably the most common visa awarded to non-EU and non-working immigrants to Italy. This visa requires demonstrating that you possess an existing monthly passive-style income of approximately €31,000 for an individual or €38,000 for a couple. The income must not be derived from employment, but from a pension or investments, including an annuity or rental properties, or any other non-work-related source, that can be proven and is consistent. In certain cases, it is now possible to convert a Permit of Stay obtained through this visa into a work permit after one year of living in Italy.
To initiate the application process, you need to contact the Italian Consulate with jurisdiction over your current place of residence to obtain the necessary list of documents. After obtaining the visa and arriving in Italy you can then apply for a Permit of Stay in Italy.
- Investor Visa. Provisions in place since 2017 allow an investor to obtain an initial 2 year visa to stay in Italy provided they invest in either invest at least €250,000 in the share capital of an innovative start-up company, or; €500,000 in Italian listed companies, or; €2 million in Italian government bonds; or €1million to philanthropic projects.
Recently an innovative real estate company has been registered as an innovative Italian startup and so investments into the company can allow that investor to obtain residency status in Italy. This is one way to qualify for residency via investing in Italy.
It is advisable to visit an Italian Consulate and the official website of the Italian Embassy or first consult with an immigration lawyer or specialist to obtain the latest information and guidance on the necessary steps to live in Italy as a non-EU Citizen. We can help direct you if you’d like to be in touch.
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